According to the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, saving human lives at sea is the duty of all signatory states. This paper analyzes and gives an overview of previous research activities in search and rescue system at sea and how the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can improve search and rescue actions at sea. Research activities include development of the search system and placement of resources that are used in search and rescue actions (ships, planes etc.). Previous research is mainly related to minimizing response time when accidents at sea are detected in relation to search and rescue missions. Implementation of unmanned aerial vehicles into the search and rescue system enables improvement of these actions due to earlier detection and verification of accidents at sea and prevents unnecessary search and rescue units engagement in cases when an accident did not occur. The results of previous research point to the fact that future research should aim to explore the synthesis of unmanned aerial vehicles with the existing search and rescue system at sea in Croatia.
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